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A proper crab sandwich

Serves 4

I have fond memories of good crab sandwiches as a kid. In fact, unknowingly, I was quite spoilt living by the sea – having access to the freshest crab and being able to knock up the ultimate crab sandwich. In my school holidays I would be one of the crab pickers, armed with a hammer, a teaspoon for digging out the meat and a bin liner slipped over my head to keep off the splattering juices.

Ideally, you should cook and prepare your own crab. Don't be tempted by the pre-packed stuff, which is often pasteurised to extend its shelf life and a very poor cousin to the real thing. A good crab sandwich needs to be generous and fresh, and it shouldn't be cheap – beware the impostors. Oh, and don't throw the shells away as they make a great bisque or soup (see above).

2 crabs, each about 500–600g, or 1 crab, about 1kg, white and brown meat extracted
2–3 tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice, to taste (optional)
8 slices of wholemeal bread, about 5mm thick
Softened butter, for spreading
Lemon wedges, to serve

Mix the brown crab meat with 1-2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise, season to taste and add a little lemon juice if you wish. Butter the bread and spread a couple of tablespoonfuls of the brown meat mix on to half of the slices.

Lightly season the white meat and pile it on top of the brown meat. Ideally, you want to use about double the quantity of white meat, although it depends on your taste and how much brown meat you've managed to get out of your crab(s).

Spread a little mayonnaise on to the other slices and place on top of the white meat. Cut in half or into quarters and serve with lemon.

Any leftover crab can be mixed together and spread on to hot buttered toast.